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Riley caps MSU Billings career with Academic All-America honors

MSUB Baseball Riley.png
Posted at 10:15 AM, Aug 03, 2021

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

AUSTIN, Texas – Adding a final top award to his standout Montana State University Billings baseball career, senior shortstop Will Riley was named an Academic All-American for the 2021 spring season.

“Will Riley epitomizes what a student-athlete is,” said MSUB head coach Derek Waddoups. “He always put his class work first and was still able to perform at a high level on the baseball field. Riley is the type of student-athlete that every coach dreams of.”

Riley earned third-team All-America selection from CoSIDA, after completing his undergraduate degree in health and human performance while maintaining a 3.72 grade point average. He is the second Academic All-American in program history, joining 2019 selection Matt Dillon who was also a third-team pick.

The top academic award comes after Riley was named a CoSIDA academic all-district and an academic all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference selection earlier in 2021. He was 1 of 3 players from the conference to earn the Academic All-American designation this year.

Riley became the fourth player in MSUB history to be named an All-American, when he earned National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association honorable mention selection for his performance on the field during the 2021 spring season. The Lismore, Australia native led the Yellowjackets with a .401 batting average this spring, becoming the third player in school history to eclipse the .400 mark over the course of an entire season. His 63 hits, 16 doubles, and 104 total bases were the most in the GNAC. Boasting a combination of contact and power hitting at the top of MSUB's lineup, Riley reached base at a clip of .484 while slugging .662, with both figures ranking him top-10 in the conference. His seven home runs and 33 RBIs were third-most on the team, and he stole three bases while scoring a team-high 42 runs. Riley was 1 of 3 Yellowjackets to start all 40 games during the season, playing a variety of roles defensively with the majority of his reps coming at shortstop. Riley's 61 assists were second most on the team, and he posted a .905 fielding percentage in 128 total chances. A consensus first-team all-region selection, Riley was honored by the NCBWA, American Baseball Coaches Association, and the Division II Conference Commissioners Association among the top players in the NCAA D2 west region. In his second year in the program, Riley was named first-team all-GNAC and he took home a GNAC Player of the Week award on March 1.